Started out by Nissan in 1997, the NISMO festival is one event with a reputation just as big as Godzilla. All the Nissan crown jewels are shipped to Shizuoka’s Fuji Speedway for a solid day of track abuse and aural pleasure.
Everything from the classic Nissan race machines of the golden days of racing were there, as well as a raft of the newer modern machines. Here Moty’s Takazawa Sunny is in full flight during their 7-lap race.
As well as some of Japan’s most iconic automobiles.
It’s not everyday you get to meet your heroes. I remember building the 1/24 scale Tamiya model of this when I was 13, and now here it is before my eyes.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Japanese event without merchandise stalls…
It was about this time I had to just leave, the more I wanted to look at the stalls, the more I could hear my credit card screaming at me to leave.
Before returning to the pit garages, I took a wander up into the grandstands to watch the cars power up the long front straight.
Nothing sounded better the the SUMOPOWER GT-R under full throttle hammering along the straight. Now I know what heaven sounds like.
Back down in the pits I was getting to meet more and more of my idols. The JGTC machines of the early 2000s are beautiful machines close up.
Nissan’s NP35 was one of the more mental cars present. The scream of this thing was something out of this world.
Calsonic Xanavi R390 GT1 LeMans machine.
The menacing Nissan R391 didn’t really shine at the 1999 LeMans 24 hour although it won the 1000 km Fuji at the end of 1999.
Although to be honest, the fancy new stuff doesn’t float my boat all that much. It was what was next door that I really came to see…
The Hasemi Racing Gr.5 Tomica Skyline DR30. All crammed into one area of the pits, my favourite Nissan race machines sat quietly awaiting their time on track.
The cockpit of the DR30, that iconic orange seat and just look at that shifter!
Equally impressive was the Silvia Super Silhouette KS110. Seeing these cars in real life was special enough, seeing them run was even better!
It’s great that Nissan puts on this event for the fans. Leaving these iconic machines to rot in a muesum and sit on flat tyres would be a crime.
Japanese fans are not exactly your run of the mill ‘fan’ either. The passion and love they have for their favourite marque of car, or driver can only be described in one word – dedicated. For some, the drive took 11 hours to be here. Dedicated is the perfect word to describe them.
Although when you get to see scenes like this through your lens who wouldn’t be happy they made the trip?
It is all about making noise, and laying a bit of rubber…
And drooling over some of the world’s most iconic racecars.
So for the final hurrah, Nissan brought all their machines out, and lined them up on the front straight in front of the crowd. It was a fitting way of saying ‘thanks for all the support’. At the end of the day, motorsport is nothing without its fans.